It is more than expected to be riddled with questions upon learning that you have advanced breast cancer—also known as metastatic breast cancer or stage IV cancer. The purpose of any advanced breast cancer treatment is to lengthen patients’ survival time, as well as improve their quality of life. Even though advanced breast cancer is incurable today, there are more therapy options that are effective in prolonging patients’ lives.
It is paramount to understand your therapy options thoroughly as this will render your discussions with regards to your treatment with your doctor much more productive. That said, keep in mind that everyone’s case of breast cancer is unique and requires a different approach to treatment. Ultimately, your doctor determines the most effective treatment plan for you.
Advanced Breast Cancer Treatment Options
Surgery for Advanced Breast Cancer
A lot of patients with advanced breast cancer require an operation for the removal of the tumour. In some rare situations, patients may also undergo surgery for the removal of a cancerous growth that has reached into another organ. This is more common when the breast tumour’s spread is relatively confined to a small area.
Radiation Therapy for Advanced Breast Cancer
Radiation is preferred when the goal is to shrink the cancer mass in various tissues of the body. However, it cannot be used on a breast that has previously received radiation therapy. Radiation may hinder the growth of the tumour and facilitate the management of symptoms. Additionally, it may be used to mitigate the pain or bleeding that is caused by the spread of the tumour to the liver or bone.
Chemotherapy for Advanced Breast Cancer
A majority of women with advanced breast cancer require chemotherapy, which is tolerated much more easily these days. There is a large variety of chemotherapy medications that your oncologist may see fit to your case. Some of these drugs are taken orally in the form of pills, whereas others may be delivered intravenously.
Hormone Therapy for Advanced Breast Cancer
If your breast cancer is a result of a hormone like estrogen, your oncologist may recommend hormone therapy. This form of therapy aims to reduce estrogen production so it cannot incite cancerous growths. Some common medications used in hormone therapy include anastrozole, fulvestrant, goserelin, or tamoxifen. Your physician will determine the right option based your particular case.
Targeted Therapy for Advanced Breast Cancer
Targeted therapy refers to the use of medications that attack various enzymes linked to cancerous growths. The primary medication options used in targeted therapy include everolimus, lapatinib, pertuzumab, and trastuzumab.
If your tumour spreads to your bones, there are some other therapies that are commonly used. While each case differs, your oncologist may put you on medications such as , pamidronate disodium, or acid.
Featured Image: DepositPhotos/ OtnaYdurPosted on May 9, 2018